Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join
IAEI Magazine
Blog Home All Blogs
IAEI News provides educational forums, updates on electrical codes and reports of innovative research to facilitate the development and enforcement of practices designed to drive efficiency and compliance with the highest standards of product development and safety—for the public as well as for electrical personnel. The magazine reaches authorities with power of product specification, approval and acceptance. Published six times a year by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors.

Issue Archive | Advertise | Media Kit | Submit Article


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: Featured  UL Question Corner  Canadian Code  Editorial  Other Code  Canadian Perspective  May-June 2012  November-December 2011  Safety in Our States  January-February 2012  March-April 2012  January-February 2008  September-October 2012  July-August 2011  May-June 2005  May-June 2010  May-June 2011  November-December 2000  November-December 2010  January-February 2009  July-August 2006  March-April 2005  March-April 2011  May-June 2003  November-December 2008  November-December 2012  January-February 2010  July-August 2009  November-December 2009  September-October 2005 

Expanding Home Safety with AFCIs

Posted By Gerard Winstanley, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency escape ladders—these are all proven methods for making a quick and safe escape from a fire in the home. However, in addition to these measures, proven technology exists to prevent fires from starting in the first place. Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs)— the next generation in circuit breaker technology—are one such life-saving tool that should be considered by home owners and home builders alike.

In fact, the National Electrical Code (NEC), which contains a requirement for AFCIs since the 1999 edition, has since strengthened its support in the technology. Beginning in January 2008, the next edition of the NEC will take effect, expanding the AFCI requirement from only in the bedroom to now being required in occupied areas, such as living rooms, dining rooms and other areas where the technology may help improve the safety of the home.

Photo 1. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that AFCI circuit breakers could prevent 50-75 percent of electrical fires, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development lists the technology as a key device in preventing burn

Many prominent experts in the electrical and home building community believe this expanded requirement will have a significant, positive impact on homeowner safety, and decrease the number of lives lost and injuries that occur in home electrical fires.

Advanced AFCI technology was developed in response to an identified problem in the electrical system causing home fires. According to the latest reports from the United States Fire Administration (USFA), electrical problems spark an estimated 67,800 residential fires every year. These fires are responsible for the deaths of 485 innocent victims, approximately 2,300 injuries and more than $868 million in residential property damage.1

The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that AFCI technology could prevent more than 50 percent of these types of fires,2 and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)3 lists AFCI technology as a key device in preventing burns and fire-related injuries.

A Technological Leap Forward

Unlike a conventional circuit breaker, which detects overloads and short circuits, an AFCI utilizes advanced electronic technology to "sense” different arcing conditions. Specifically, AFCIs provide increased protection by detecting a condition known as an arc fault, which is defined by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), an independent, product-safety certification organization, as an unintentional arcing condition in a circuit.

Common household items, such as a motor-driven vacuum cleaner and the motor in a furnace, naturally create arcs when they are operating. These conditions are considered normal arcs, which can also occur when a light switch is turned off.

Arc faults, however, occur from damaged wiring, overheated or stressed electrical cords, worn electrical insulation, wires and/or cords in contact with vibrating metal, damaged electrical appliances and more. This potentially dangerous condition creates high-intensity heat—which may exceed 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit—resulting in burning particles that can easily ignite surrounding material, such as wood framing or insulation.

AFCIs are designed to recognize when arc faults occur and automatically shut the circuit down before it becomes a fire hazard. Manufacturers of AFCIs test for the hundreds of possible operating conditions, and design each AFCI to constantly discern between normal and dangerous arcs.

Types of Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters

AFCIs are intended to mitigate the effects of arc faults by de-energizing the circuit when an arc fault is detected. In 1996, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. published UL 1699—the recognized national standard for AFCIs.

UL 1699 covers a wide variety of conditions that may affect AFCI performance, including humidity, unwanted tripping, abnormal operation, voltage surges and more. Each type of AFCI is required to comply with UL 1699.

Photo 2-6. AFCIs provide increased protection by detecting a condition known as an arc fault, which can occur from damaged wiring, overheated or stressed electrical codes, worn electrical insulation, wires and/or cords in contact with vibrating metal,


Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Two types of AFCIs are available—branch/feeder and combination. Both types are intended to be installed at the origin of a branch circuit or feeder, such as a panelboard or load center. The branch/feeder AFCI detects parallel arcing faults, which can occur line-to-line, line-to-neutral and line-to-ground.

The combination AFCI takes the technology one step further and detects not only parallel arcing, but also series arcing, which is useful in identifying lower-level arcing in both branch circuits and power supply cords. A series arc can occur when the conductor in series with the load is unintentionally broken. Effective January 1, 2008, combination AFCI protection will be required in all new homes.

Nationally Recognized Safety Device

Figure 1. Branch/feeder AFCIs provide protection through the detection of parallel arcing faults that can occur line-to-line, line-to-neutral and line-to-ground.

As previously mentioned, theNational Electrical Codespecifically defines and mandates the installation of AFCIs.

Research in the arc fault area began in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the CPSC identified a concern in residential fires that were a result of a problem in the electrical system. It was discovered that a large number of these fires were estimated to be in branch-circuit wiring systems.

The concept of AFCIs gained more momentum when a code proposal was made to NEC-1993 to change the instantaneous trip levels of 15 A and 20 A circuit breakers. The Electronic Industries Association (EIA) studied the issue of electrical fires and determined that additional protection against arcing faults needed to be addressed. This proposal first attempted to call for added protection by requiring that instantaneous trip levels of a circuit breaker be reduced from a range of 120 to 150 amperes down to 85 amperes. However, it became clear that the lowering of those levels below some of the minimums already available on the market would result in significant unwanted tripping due to normal inrush currents.

Figure 2. The combination type AFCI takes technology a step further and detects not only parallel arcing, but also series arcing, which is useful in identifying lower-level arcing in both branch circuits and power supply cords.

These early studies and code efforts led to the first proposals to require AFCIs, which were made during the development ofNEC-1999. NEC Code-Making Panel 2 (CMP-2) reviewed many proposals, ranging from protecting the entire residence to the protection of the living and sleeping areas. The panel also heard numerous presentations from both sides of the issue. After extensive data analysis and discussion, the code-making panel concluded that AFCI protection should be required in branch circuits that supply receptacle outlets in bedrooms.

The first requirement for AFCIs appeared in NEC-1999 under Section 210.12 and subsequent editions have further upgraded the requirements for its use. The 1999 edition, which became effective in 2002, required that dwelling unit bedrooms have AFCIs installed to protect only those branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets.

After further research and analysis of the technology and its potential safety benefits, the 2002 edition updated Section 210.12 and expanded the requirement for AFCIs to include all bedroom circuits, including those that supply lighting fixtures, smoke alarms, and other equipment. Section 210.12 was again revised in 2005 to provide for a technology upgrade to the combination type of AFCIs.

Figure 3. Section 210.12 of the 2008 National Electrical Code requires combination AFCIs on circuits not only in bedrooms but also in additional living areas in the home.

While previous generations of AFCIs detected parallel arcing, the combination AFCI could also detect series arcing, and at lower levels. NEC-2008, which was published in September, takes safety a step further by requiring that all new home construction install combination AFCIs on circuits not only in bedrooms but also in additional living areas in the home.

Since the beginning of its evolution in the NEC, several prominent organizations in the United States have come out in support of the technology. In addition to the CPSC and HUD, the expanded requirements have the support of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Electrical Safety Foundation International, as well as many home inspectors and fire personnel, who see firsthand the significant damage electrical fires cause.

Small Cost Equals Big Payoff

As with any change in the required protection for the electrical system, there have been many discussions and deliberations both for and against arc-fault protection being a part of the NEC.

Some have argued that the cost of the AFCI is higher than a standard circuit breaker and, as such, it costs too much to provide the increased protection. Others have argued that since it is a relatively new type of protection, AFCIs do not have the history on which to base a decision as to whether to support it or not.

While there is an additional cost to upgrading new homes from standard circuit breakers to AFCI technology, this cost increase is small. One could argue that AFCIs cost much less than some "non-safety” related upgrades that are typical in a new home, such as expensive kitchen cabinets and countertops. In fact, the cost to homeowners to have builders add additional protection to the home—in the form of AFCIs—is relatively insignificant when compared to the risk of death and injury caused by electrical fires.

A quick survey of hardware stores and do-it-yourself home centers (e.g., Home Depot, Lowe’s) found AFCIs priced in the $30–$35 range and standard circuit breakers priced from $2–$4. Using the high-end price of $35, the cost differential between AFCIs and the standard circuit breaker is approximately $31–$33. According to a September 2006 article in Electrical Wholesaling magazine, the average cost of a 2,500 sq. ft. house is $192,846;4 and with the average number of circuits requiring AFCIs being 12, this equates to an approximate cost increase of $372 – $396 to the homeowner, or one-fifth of one percent of the national average cost of that 2,500 sq. ft. home.

When comparing these figures to the hundreds of millions of dollars lost in electrical fires each year, saving a human life or preventing injury or property loss is well worth the cost of additional protection in the home, and certainly well worth the investment.

The Bottom Line

Applying technology to improve the electrical safety of the home is a wise investment for both the homeowner and the community at large. Reducing fires of electrical origin and saving lives is an important responsibility of the entire construction and regulatory community. The irreplaceable value placed on human life taken and heavy toll on property destroyed in electrical fires provides a clear indication of the need for home builders and contractors to provide consumers with the safest home possible.

Educating homebuyers on the latest in home protection devices beyond the smoke alarm, emergency ladders, and similar "after-the-fact” safety devices is the first step in preventing electrical fires. In addition, new homeowners should know what options are available in the way of home safety, and are encouraged to ask their builder or electrician about the life-saving capabilities of AFCIs. With the potential to cut the number of electrical fires that occur each year in half, AFCI technology should not be overlooked.


1 United States Fire Administration.On the Safety Circuit: A Fact sheet on Home Electrical Fire Prevention. 2006.

2 United States Consumer Products Safety Commission.Economic Considerations – AFCI Replacements. Memorandum, March 2003.

3 United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. HealthyHomes Issues: Injury Hazards, Version 3. March 2006.

4 Electrical Wholesaling.Home builders report most recent quarterly sales down from a year ago. September 2006.

Read more by Gerard Winstanley

Tags:  Featured  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

The Gold Roadrunner Club

Posted By Richard E. Loyd, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

If you have been around awhile, you have probably heard of the group called the Roadrunners. If you regularly attend IAEI chapter and section meetings, you may have heard the code panel or some of the presenters referred to as Roadrunners or Circuit Riders. Where the term Circuit Rider originated, I am not sure; but as long as I have been a member of IAEI and traveled the circuit, the terms have been used interchangeably to refer to the men who come to the meetings and talk code.

The Roadrunners are a group of representatives for manufacturers, testing laboratories and IAEI who are active in the process for the National Electrical Code (they are on one or more code panels) and for other NFPA standards and they are supported by their companies or organizations.

You might ask, why would manufacturers send their representatives to an IAEI meeting? Well, the answer is simple. The manufacturers and testing laboratories respect the inspectors’ opinions and honesty about products; they just tell it like it is and that forthrightness is appreciated. In addition, the meetings offer venues for the representatives to teach inspectors, engineers, contractors, and electricians in attendance about the proper use and application of products per the requirements of the National Electrical Code.

In recent years, more presentations have been allowed at the meetings, most of which are codeoriented. True circuit riders educate only from a code prospective and never run down a competitor’s product. We feel the importance is for the product to be acceptable for the application, and to be installed properly per the NEC requirements.

Over the years at many IAEI chapter and section meetings, the Circuit Riders (code panelists) have been given a gift to show appreciation for their attending the meetings. The first gold Roadrunner pins were awarded in 1968; and the Roadrunner Club was established about October 1, 1968, at the Southern Section Meeting in Houston, Texas, at the Rice Hotel. M. S. "Dude” Parmley, president of the Southern Section (and later 1976 international president), along with his two co-hosts, Jay Traylor and Sidney Wolfenson of Houston, together with the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter decided to honor the panel members with a gold roadrunner pin
to distinguish them from all the rest. It was then, and still is today, a small pin about ¾ inch long, depicting a Chaparral cock bird, the roadrunner, made of solid gold and with a ruby eye.

Two of the most respected circuit riders of the time, Richard Lloyd and Kent Stiner, were asked to set the criteria for becoming a member of this very prestigious group. They did and all of the original inductees agreed to the qualifications for membership. To be accepted, the circuit rider must have ttended five section meetings for a minimum of five consecutive years and have participated in their programs. At that time, participation was to serve on their code panels. They were also required to be a member of one or more NEC code-making panels. The gold roadrunner award is an honor bestowed by peers.

The first ten men received their pins at the Houston, Texas, Southern Section Meeting that year. They were Len Sessler, Ed Brand, Richard L. Lloyd, Kent Stiner, Frank Stetka, Daniel Boone, Hank Watson, Merwin "Money” Brandon, Lou LeFehr (director of IAEI) and John Watt. Over the following years, additional pins were given out to those circuit riders that met the qualifications. In 1972, two more icons received the award: Eustace Soares, and Bennie Segall. In September 1976, six more were added: Wilford I. "Bill” Summers, (director of IAEI), Jack Wells, Alan Reed, R. W. "Dick” Shaul, Clem Baxter and Baron Whitaker. In April 1977, IAEI International President E. E. "Gene” Carlton received a gold roadrunner pin. In May 1980, Earl Roberts was inducted into the organization and received his pin. In April 1988, Artie O. Barker, international president for 1975, received his pin.

In September 1991, Richard E. Loyd was bestowed this honor along with close friend Charles Forsberg. At that Southern Section Meeting, M.S. "Dude” Parmley requested the Roadrunners to take responsibility of managing the organization from the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter. Dude stated he felt it was the right time to turn it over to the Roadrunner members. He and Richard L. (double L) Lloyd then asked Richard E. (single L) Loyd and his wife Nancy to oversee the organization and to see that it continued and that pins were awarded.

Since that time, the Roadrunner organization has awarded eight additional pins to deserving circuit riders. In April 1992, Harvey Johnson was honored at a meeting in Beaumont, Texas. In September 1992, George Flach, IAEI international president for 1982, and D. J. Clements received this honor.

On September 27, 1995, James T. Pauley and J. Philip Simmons, (1987 international president and director of IAEI) were honored with their gold roadrunner pins. On October 24, 2000, Philip H. Cox, international director of IAEI received his pin.

This year in October 2007 at the Southern Section’s 79th annual meeting, Mark Earley, who is assistant vice president of engineering and chief electrical engineer for NFPA, and executive editor of necdigest,® and John Minick, chairman of NEC Code-Making Panel 1 and field representative of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, received the prestigious gold roadrunner pin award.

The rules of membership have been revised; now a recipient must support and participate in the educational programs at IAEI section meetings and other electrical meetings, must contribute to the development and adoption of the NEC, and must make a significant contribution to the electrical industry as a whole.

Nominations for membership are made by the existing members of the Gold Roadrunners Club, and recipients are required to receive unanimous approval of the other Roadrunner awardees.

Earley and Minick bring the total membership of this elite group to thirteen living members: Philip H. Cox, retired, consulting and teaching for IAEI; James T. Pauley, vice president of industry and government relations, Square D Company; Philip Simmons, Simmons Electrical Services; George Flach, NACMA; D. J. Clements, retired; Richard E. Loyd, Steel Tube Institute; Charles Forsberg, retired; Earl Roberts, retired; Wilford I. "Bill” Summers, retired; Jack Wells, corporate development, Pass & Seymour/Legrand; and Len Sessler, the last of the original ten, is retired and makes his home in North Carolina with his wife.

Read more by Richard E. Loyd

Tags:  Featured  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

New Jersey Building Inspectors – Partners in NEC Enforcement

Posted By Andre Cartal, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

Section 250.52(A)(3) requires that if the footing construction includes 20 feet of rebar not less than ½ inch in diameter, the rebar must be included in the grounding electrode system.

Electrical inspection of the rebar presents several problems, such as no electrical contractor on the job site at this early date, maybe the electrical contractor has not even been selected; however, the general contractor is on site and has approval to pour footings, but not before an inspection by the building inspector.

Photo 1

This is where help is needed for compliance with theNEC; and in New Jersey, the building inspector is given the responsibility of inspecting the connection of a 4 AWG copper conductor to the rebar and signing off on the building technical form that it was inspected (see figure 1). A 4 AWG conductor will be available to the contractor and the inspector at a location noted on the plans.

Initially, there was concern among the inspectors regarding "turf” but a mock-up of a typical connection was made available to the building inspectors (see photo 1) and we are pleased to report that the process is working well and has eliminated the exclusion of the most effective electrode present on the property.

NEC-2002 stated that where the various electrodes were "available,” they must be used; however, if the footings are poured prior to an electrical inspection, it was argued that they were no longer available. CMP-5 corrected that in NEC-2005 by changing "available” to "present,” which now means if the footing is poured and the footing electrode is not connected, a notice of violation is issued.

This is a textbook example of how different inspection disciplines can work together to enhance safety.

Read more by Andre Cartal

Tags:  Featured  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

If Electricity Is So Expensive, Why Don’t You Buy a Generator? Part 2, Parallel Systems

Posted By David Young, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

As we saw in part 1 of this series, it is tough to make alternative electric sources economical when you are trying to operate a completely independent system. Usually the only time people install such systems is when the normal electric service is not available.

Utilizing alternative energy sources as a supplement to your normal electric service is a very different world. Renewable energy sources that operate in parallel with the utility can be very economical. In these systems, the goal of the alternative energy source is to reduce expenses.

Parallel Systems

All parallel system designs must be approved by the electric utility before installation. Some utilities require the customer to install sophisticated and expensive protection systems for parallel operation. I understand that some utilities do not allow parallel operation.

In most parallel systems involving alternative energy sources like solar and wind, the interface between the utility source and the customer’s source is usually an inverter designed for parallel operation. Solar voltaic cells and most small windmills produce low voltage dc power.

The inverter converts the low voltage dc to the utility 60 Hz. ac service voltage. For residential customers, some utilities allow the kWh meter on the side of the customer’s house to run backwards when the customer is selling excess power to the utility as long as the customer usage each month is more than they sell. The utility wants to send out a bill not a check. This is the best situation for the customer because every kWh he generates is worth what the customer pays for energy.

Some utilities install separate meters, one to measure how much energy the customer purchased and one to measure how much energy the customer sold. In this case, the meters are modified so they will not operate backwards and the utility usually purchases energy from the customer at a rate well below that which the customer is paying to buy energy. The utility usually purchases energy from the customer at the same rate they pay large generating companies for energy.


To protect the utility linemen from shock and other customers’ equipment from damage, most utilities require customers with their own generation automatically to disconnect from the utility source any time the utility source is lost. This is where the sophisticated relaying comes in.

Government Incentives

In some states, alternative energy systems can be economical because of the tax credits or state grants available to people and companies who install such systems.

I understand that California offers the greatest benefits. Massachusetts and Delaware are examples of states where grants are available up to fifty percent of the cost of the installation. Contact your state energy office to see what incentives are available in your state. Hundreds of homeowners and companies all over the U.S. are taking advantage of the grants and tax incentives.

According to an IEEE Spectrum magazine October 2007 article, "The Greening of Google,” the largest corporate installation of solar panels in North America is a Google office complex in California. The Google solar voltaic array will produce 1.6 million watts of electricity by the end of this year. More than nine thousand (9,509) parallel solar systems (101 million watts) were installed in the U.S. in 2006. Seventy percent of these systems where installed in California. Experts estimate that a solar installation costs between $3 and $5 per watt in California and between $6 and $10 per watt in the rest of the country.

Electrical contractors all over the country are now offering installation of solar systems for homes and businesses. One contractor in my area works with the utility, installs a completely automatic system and even fills out the paperwork for the owner to get the grant from the state. All the customer has to do is sign the contract and write out a check. In some states, there are companies who will install and maintain solar panels on your roof for free. All you do is sign a 15-year contract to purchase the energy from the solar panels at a fixed rate, which is less than what you are presently paying for energy from your local utility.

The Future

We need to encourage our state governments to create tax credits and/or state grants like California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Delaware to promote alternative energy generation and conservation. In Germany, homeowners are paying 35 cents per kWh for electric energy. For the next twenty years, the German government promises to pay fifty cents per kWh for energy produced by homeowners and companies who install solar and wind generators. There are farmers in Germany who have covered their fields with solar panels. They are now solar farmers. Most of them make more money as a solar farmer than they ever did as a crop or cattle farmer. Most houses in Germany have solar panels on their roofs and more importantly, the whole country is reducing air pollution and rapidly becoming less dependant on coal, oil, gas and nuclear. For more information, see the NOVA special Solar Energy, Saved by the Sun.

Read more by David Young

Tags:  January-February 2008  Other Code 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Electrical Work Related to Fire Alarm Systems

Posted By Ark Tsisserev, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

Electrical installations related to fire alarm systems appear to be no different from other types of electrical work. A typical fire alarm system is an interconnected combination of:

1. the alarm initiating devices (i.e., field devices that constitute system inputs);

2. various audible signal devices such as bells, horns and speakers (i.e., field devices that constitute system outputs), and

3. central processing units such as a control unit, an annunciator, graphic display, a voice communication panel, etc. (i.e., equipment that represents system interface between inputs and outputs).

Wiring between these fire system components must be done in accordance with Section 32 of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I. Installation of these components must comply with ULC Standard S524 "Installation of fire alarm systems” — ULC S524. This standard must be well understood by an electrical installer as the standard governs installation requirements (locations, height, spacing, etc.) for each field device and for each control unit/annunciator that is included in a typical fire alarm system.

An installer (and a designer) of the fire alarm system must also have a full understanding of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) requirements with respect to fire alarm systems, as the NBCC regulates the extent of the required fire alarm system components depending on the type of building occupancy and building classification. For example, if a fire alarm system is required in a hospital, then every sleeping room must be equipped with a smoke detector, and smoke detectors must be also installed in every hospital corridor that serves as a means of egress from these sleeping rooms. If, however, a fire alarm system is installed in a typical school, church, or restaurant, the NBCC does not require that smoke detectors be located in the corridors of such buildings. Therefore, if the designers or installers are not familiar with the NBCC requirements, they may needlessly spend time and money on installation of smoke detectors where such detectors are not mandated, or may omit them where their installation is necessary.

Figure 1

Another example of specific NBCC requirements regarding fire alarm systems is the additional requirement for a voice communication feature, which must be provided as a part of a fire alarm system. This feature is only mandated by the NBCC in high buildings under specific conditions, and the NBCC describes criteria for a two-way voice communication system when it has to be part of a fire alarm system. The NBCC also states that high buildings must be provided additionally with a piece of equipment called central alarm and control facility (CACF). The CACF must always be located on the storey containing the entrance for firefighter access, and it must include the following means:

(a) a means to control voice communication;

(b) a means to indicate fire alarm signals audibly and visually;

(c) a means to activate auxiliary equipment appropriate to the measure for fire safety provided in the building;

(d) a means to transmit fire alarm signals to the fire department; and

(e) a means to transmit abnormal supervisory conditions on an automatic sprinkler system to a fire signal receiving centre (a central station).

A CACF must be equipped with numerous other features, and Article of the NBCC should be checked for all relevant requirements.

It is interesting to note that not all features required by the NBCC to be provided at a CACF actually belong to a fire alarm system. Some of these features are outside of a fire alarm system proper (i.e., they do not constitute any part of the fire alarm system input, interface or output components), and wiring methods to various pieces of this "ancillary” equipment are not regulated by provisions of Section 32 of the CEC. As this "ancillary” life and fire safety equipment does not directly belong to a fire alarm system, wiring to this equipment is not required to be electrically supervised by ULC S524 (it should be noted that Clause of ULC S5245 requires electrical supervision of the wiring to the fire alarm system devices and lists the devices that must be electrically supervised). It is also interesting to note that operational testing of ancillary equipment is not required to be conducted during a verification of a
fire alarm system, and such verification is limited only to the devices that constitute a fire alarm system proper (devices that are electrically supervised).

Now is the time to find out what does, in fact, a verification of a fire alarm system mean. Verification of a fire alarm system is a procedure mandated by the NBCC to test operation and performance of all fire alarm system components upon completion of the fire alarm system installation.

Article of the NBCC states that upon completion of installation, a fire alarm system must be verified in accordance with ULC standard S 537 "Verification of Fire Alarm Systems”. ULC S537 requires that such verification must be conducted by a third party (not the installing contractor) acceptable to the AHJ, to ensure that the fire alarm system is installed in conformance with ULC S524 and in accordance with the CEC, Part I, and that the fire alarm system operates satisfactorily.

And what about this mysterious ancillary life and fire safety equipment? ULC S524 defines an ancillary as a "device which has a life safety application, and is actuated by the fire alarm system, but is not part of the fire alarm system”. As it was mentioned earlier, the ULC S537 requires that a verification report only confirms that appropriate signals have been sent from the fire alarm system to actuate such ancillary equipment, but the standard does not mandate that the operation of this equipment must be tested as well. This latter requirement is governed by a coordinated life safety test in a building prior to the building’s occupancy, and it will be discussed in a separate article.

So, what is this "life and fire safety equipment” that is activated by a fire alarm system, and yet is not part of it?

Okay, let’s raise the curtain of mystery. There are different types of electrical equipment which must be activated by a fire alarm system. One of them is an electromagnetic lock installed on the exit door. When a fire alarm system is actuated, a signal must be sent to release each electromagnetic lock, unless a special relaxation is allowed by the NBCC. Another example is a hold-open device installed on a door in a required fire separation. A signal from a fire alarm system must release all holdopen devices on the doors and allow these doors to close. Where a measure for fire safety in a high building is achieved by use of a stair shaft or elevator shaft pressurization, a signal must be sent from a fire alarm system to activate all relevant motorized dampers and to start pressurization fans. Another example of fire safety equipment that could be controlled by a fire alarm system is the automatic recall (homing) of all elevators to a recall level. This homing feature also provides for an alternate floor recall option if the fire alarm initiating device has been activated on the elevator recall floor.

It may appear that the particular NBCC requirement —to transmit an alert/alarm signal to a fire department, or to transmit a trouble signal to a central monitoring station (to indicate an abnormal supervisory condition on an automatic sprinkler system) has been forgotten in our discussion. The fact is, that it has not. This is a very unique fire alarm system output, and it will be discussed a bit later.

First of all, let’s confirm the following:

1. All wiring between components of a fire alarm system must be done in accordance with Section 32 of the CE Code, and all fire alarm system components must be installed in conformance with ULC S524.

2. The installed fire alarm system must be verified by a third party acceptable to the AHJ (by other than a designer of the fire alarm system or its installer), and a verification must be done in accordance with ULC S537.

3. All wiring between a fire alarm system and ancillary life and fire safety equipment must be done in conformance with applicable rules of the CE Code.

4. All electrical work indicated in items 1 and 3 above must be done by a licensed electrical contractor under electrical permit.

Now, we can deal with signals to the fire department or to a central station. The NBCC requires that actuation of a first stage (alert) signal in a two-stage fire alarm system, or actuation of a water flow indicating device (a flow switch of a sprinkler system) must trigger transmission of a signal to the fire department. It should be noted that NBCC also requires transmission of such a signal to the fire department under other conditions (see Article

In addition, the NBCC mandates that electrical supervision of an automatic sprinkler system must be monitored by the central station, to allow a building management/building maintenance staff timely correction of any problems on the sprinkler system.

So, if electrical work as indicated in item 4 above must be done by an electrical contractor, who is responsible for the wiring between an acceptable central monitoring station (or fire department) and a fire alarm system installed in the building? Does this wiring have to be done under permit by an electrical contractor? Is this electrical work subject to inspection?

The answer may be found in figure 1.

As can be seen in figure 1, the entire business of transmitting signals to a central monitoring station is dealt with by the applicable provisions of ULC S561.

The scope of this standard covers the installation of a transmitter between a building’s fire alarm system and a central station, wiring between the fire alarm system and the transmitter installed adjacent to the control unit in the building, and installation (or use of the existing) acceptable communication lines between the transmitter and the monitoring station.

So, what happens if a communication line between a fire alarm system and a monitoring station is interrupted?

How will the building management staff know that the building fire alarm system is not actually connected to the monitoring station because of a potential open or short circuit on communication line?

The answer is found in ULC S561. Clause 10.1.7 of this standard mandates that "The integrity of the communication system and its communication channels shall be continuously monitored”. Therefore, if a central station is listed for conformance with ULC S561, all applicable requirements of this standard would have to be met by the central station.

ULC lists such central stations or fire signal receiving centres for:

1. full service to provide installation and monitoring

2. for shared service/installations, or

3. shared service/monitoring.

Thus, electrical work related to the installation of a transmitter and to connection of a fire alarm system to the monitoring station must be done by the organization that is listed by the ULC as a fire signal receiving centre—full service, or shared service/installation”.

Acceptance criteria of each central station’s fire signal receiving centre must be discussed with the applicable AHJ.

The city of Vancouver has published bulletins to clarify verification requirements for fire alarm systems, acceptance criteria for verification organizations and acceptance criteria for central stations. These Bulletins: 2000-019-EL; 2000-021-EL; and 2003-009-EL are available on the city of Vancouver website Refer to the Community Services Department under Licenses and Inspections/Related Information.

Read more by Ark Tsisserev

Tags:  Canadian Perspective  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Grounding Basics

Posted By Leslie Stoch, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

Electrical system grounding is not widely understood,and it may lead to many different discussions, interpretations and a wide variation of philosophies. This article reviews some of the electrical system grounding requirements as spelled out in the Canadian Electrical Code and it throws in a few curve balls to hopefully keep things interesting.

The CEC Rule 10-106 requires that alternating current systems must always be grounded when their voltage-to-ground is 150 volts to ground or less, or when the electrical system has a neutral conductor. In general, this requirement would apply to both 208Y/120-volt and 120/240-volt systems.

Rule 10-204 tells us that neutral connections to ground must be made at the main service equipment and again at the transformer that supplies the utilization voltage. But the rule specifies there must be no neutral connections to ground anywhere in the electrical system past the main service equipment (see figures 1 and 2). If there is bonding between the cases of electrical equipment and the system neutral downstream from the main electrical service, the bonding must be removed.

Figures 1 and 2

You might be justified in asking why the CEC prohibits all interconnections between the electrical system neutral and the case of the equipment downstream from the main electrical service. Two good reasons come to mind:

1. an inadvertent parallel return path for load currents is created when the neutral becomes grounded anywhere past its grounding point at the main service; and

2. if the main electrical service has ground-fault protection of the zero sequence or residually connected types, grounding the neutral downstream from the fault sensing equipment will effectively disable the groundfault protection.

I’m sure that none of this is news to you. But how can unintentional grounding show up in your electrical system that violates the CEC and creates the problems discussed? An emergency standby generator could be one way. The frames of some generators are bonded to the generator neutral. This information should be noted somewhere on the machine. Connecting this type of standby generator to an electrical system will create an unintended downstream ground point. A 4-pole transfer switch is then required to ensure this doesn’t become a problem, by ensuring the generator neutral is disconnected at all times when the machine is not in operation.

Another way that an unplanned downstream ground can show up is by the installation of electrical equipment such as a panelboard that has a bonding screw or bonding jumper connecting its neutral bar to the case of the equipment. These should always be removed to avoid the above problems, since bonding to the case will create accidental downstream grounding. But as you know, there is one exception to this rule. Rule 10-208 specifies that when two or more buildings are supplied from a single service, either:

1. the service neutral may be grounded at each of the buildings; or

2. the system neutral is grounded only at the main electrical service.

One frequent example would be when a building is supplied as a feeder from another building. In this example, the neutral may be grounded at the service entrance of each building, but there must be no bonding conductor between the two buildings, since the service equipment is already bonded to the system neutral in each building. Adding bonding between the two buildings would create a parallel neutral conductor.

You should note that this is the only grounding arrangement permitted by the CEC if the second building will contain livestock.

A second grounding arrangement is also permitted. In this scheme, the system neutral is grounded only at the main service in the first building. The case of service equipment in the second building must not be bonded to the neutral, since it creates an additional grounding point. However, a bonding conductor must be installed between services in the two buildings; otherwise, there would be no effective return path for ground-fault currents.

As with previous articles, you should always check with the electrical inspection authority in each province or territory for a more precise interpretation of any of the above.

Read more by Leslie Stoch

Tags:  Canadian Code  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Proposed New Standard Covering Downlights (Recessed Luminaires)

Posted By Darren Margerison , Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

In an effort to ensure that information is being provided to others within the electrical industry globally, I would like let you see some of the activities that Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has undertaken for the electrical industry in the past few months, along with our normal operational activity.

1. We have made an ad for the television segments that has been screening recently. It is designed to reduce the do it yourself and unlicensed segment of the industry.

2. Warning of using the ELV halogen downlights; we have had issues with house fires caused by these lights. AS/NZS 3000:2007 is about to be released and the requirements in this document will address the issue, however is this occurring in your area?


Figure 4.7. The diagram and table from the draft Wiring Rules


Message for the Electricity Industry

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) advises registered electrical contractors and licensed electricians to be aware of the sections in the proposed new Wiring Rules covering the installation of downlights. They should become familiar with them and follow the new standards right away.

Compared to the current Wiring Rules, AS/NZS 3000 covers the issue of downlight installation much more explicitly—and includes a diagram and a table showing the default minimum clearances for recessed luminaires or downlights. They are reproduced here, together with the draft standard.

AS/NZS 3000 will be in force from early 2008 and will apply to all new buildings, retrofits and new installations of recessed lamps.

Apart from working to the new standards straight away, registered electrical contractors and licensed electricians should remain vigilant and provide appropriate advice if they observe wrongly installed and dangerous downlights when called to work at customers’ premises.

The new standard – Recessed luminaires – says: "Recessed luminaires and their auxiliary equipment shall be installed in a manner designed to minimise temperature rise and prevent the risk of fire.

"The temperature rise at the rear of a recessed luminaire shall be limited to prevent damage to adjacent materials.

"This requirement shall be satisfied by one of the following methods:

(a) The use of a luminaire specifically designed and certified by the manufacturer to permit—

(i) contact with combustible materials; or

(ii) enclosure or covering by thermal insulation material, as appropriate to the location of the luminaire.

(b) Installation of the luminaire within a suitable fire resistant enclosure.

(c) Provision of required clearances from combustible and thermal insulating material as specified by the manufacturer of the luminaire.

(d) Provision of the default clearances from combustible and thermal insulating material as specified in Figure 4.7.

"Where manufacturer’s installation instructions that specify required clearances are not available, the luminaire shall be installed in accordance with (b) or (d).

"NOTE: In the case of a suitably designed luminaire, the installation instructions may specify that no clearance is required.

"Recessed luminaires and their auxiliary equipment shall be installed in such a manner that necessary cooling air movement through or around the luminaire is not impaired by thermal insulation or other material.

"Where thermal insulation is of a type that is not fixed in position (e.g., loose fill), a barrier or guard constructed of fire resistant material shall be provided and secured in position to maintain the necessary clearance (see figure 4.7).

"Where thermal insulation may reasonably be expected to be installed in the space containing a recessed luminaire, the luminaire shall be installed in such a manner as to provide for the subsequent installation of thermal insulation.

"Recessed luminaires shall be installed in accordance with (a) or (b), or provided with equivalent protective measures, where there is a likelihood of extraneous combustible material (e.g., leaves or vermin debris, etc.) collecting on or around the luminaire.”

Advice for Property Owners

As the State’s electricity, gas and pipeline safety and technical regulator, ESV shares the concern of fire authorities and other safety agencies at the number of fires caused by downlights in properties.

Property owners can be assured that downlights, when correctly installed, do not pose a problem. Similarly, insulation material in the roof does not pose a problem.

But, if downlights are installed incorrectly—for example they are placed close to structural timber or covered by insulation or ceiling debris—they are dangerous and pose a substantial fire risk.

Property owners are advised to take note of the following:

  • Never allow electrical equipment such as downlights to be installed close to insulation material or structural components of the property.
  • Regularly inspect downlights and transformers to ensure there is a non-flammable/mechanical barrier installed around them to prevent insulation or other material covering them.
  • Clearance of material around downlights and transformers must be equivalent to at least a handspan in width.
  • When downlights are installed, insist on the use of the best quality fittings and guards.
  • Following any work in the roof space ensure that all the downlights and transformers are clear of insulation or other material.
  • If in doubt, contact your local registered electrical contractor or contact ESV directly on 1800 800 158.
  • To ensure there is no danger from downlights, arrange an ESV electrical Home Safety Inspection. Find out more on this website or by calling 1800 800 158.
  • For any electrical work around the home, always engage a registered electrical contractor for all electrical work, and insist on a certificate of electrical safety when the work is complete.
  • Ensure there are safety switches installed on both the power and lighting circuits in properties.

New Wiring Rules covering the installation of downlights will be introduced across Australia in the next few months. The Rules will specify the minimum clearances which must be observed around downlights both for incandescent and halogen lighting products.

Read more by Darren Margerison

Tags:  Featured  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Are you proud to wear the brand?

Posted By James W. Carpenter, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

The annual section meetings are over and it is time to reflect on 2007.

Membership was the major concern for this past year. IAEI’s membership has been static for several years, and we have been slowly losing members. What are the reasons? One can probably cite several reasons—from members retiring, members not renewing for whatever reason, to not enough younger members coming into the association.

The International Board of Directors, expressing its concern over the membership non-growth, asked the International Membership Committee to study the situation, determine the causes, devise a remedy, and implement a plan to increase the membership. Along with the help of the International Office staff, a membership chair-training program was created. This training program was designed to give chapters and divisions membership committees ways and means not only to attract new members but also strategies to retain existing members.

This training session was presented at each section’s annual meeting. Those that attended the training session went away with several good ideas and methods on ways and means to increase membership. A little fun was enjoyed by each group when we played "Are You Smarter Than a New Member?” This was a game designed to let the attendees find out how much they actually knew about IAEI. We thought that if you were going to be the persons recruiting members, you should know more than others. We all learned that we needed to know more about our association.

It has been proven by other associations like ours that one-on-one contact at the local level is the most effective way to get new members and retain existing members. Providing opportunities for the new member not only to receive the benefits of membership but also to participate in the activities of the division, chapter, and section is a way to grow and maintain IAEI. Another way for the one-on-one personal contact to be effective is to provide each member a mentor. Everyone needs reinforcement and reminding once in a while to keep his or her interest. A mentor can provide that by contacting his mentee and encouraging attendance at meetings and seminars, asking the mentee to help by serving on committees, or being chapter or division officers.

We all can identify one, or many, who have influenced us in our careers. Maybe, like me, you had a person like Marvin Hobbs, who took the time to get down on the floor and teach his green helper how three- and four-way switches worked. Or someone like Norman Williams, who encouraged me to be a better electrician. People like Lock Chamberlain and Dick Boyd, who got me evolved in IAEI and encouraged me to take advantage of the benefits IAEI offered with membership—benefits of not just receiving excellent training material and seminars, but actually being engaged in producing and teaching that material. Many people in IAEI already serve as examples, as mentors, and many more could. What about you? Will you help grow IAEI?

The past section meetings offered many opportunities for learning. Since this was the year that 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code came out, all United States sections made the Analysis of Changes a major part of the training program. The Canadian section focused on Alternate Power Systems with breakout sessions on Photovoltaic Systems, Interconnection of Electric Power, and Wind Turbine Technology. Of course, all section meetings offered the opportunity to network with one another. What better way to share our experiences than at the annual section meetings?

What’s ahead for IAEI in 2008? More emphasis on membership, continuing to provide top-notch training material, and continuing to teach the members in the electrical industry are just a few of the projects IAEI will be doing in the next year. As our Director of Education, Codes and Standards Mike Johnston, says, "Education increases membership.” IAEI will also be part of a coalition made up of other like-minded associations trying to advance the profile of inspectors. (See the announcement in November/December 2007 issue of the IAEI News.) This coalition is a much-needed initiative to educate the public, as well as politicians and managers, of the important role that inspections and inspectors play in the safety of our building environment.

In the next few months, IAEI will be conducting another membership survey. We need to know what the members think, know, need, and want. We need to know the demographics of the membership. Are we continuing to grow older? The last survey indicated that in ten years nearly 50 percent of the membership would be retirement age. Are we attracting younger members and, if not, why not? Please help by completing the survey and returning it to us. That is the only way for us to determine if we are doing it right or if we need to change direction. IAEI has an affinity credit card program that provides IAEI a small percentage on what people charge. Are there other group programs that you would like IAEI to provide? Make it known by completing the survey.

If you did not attend your section meeting in September or October, you missed some great times. All the section meetings were a great experience—time for learning and time for fun. Plan now to attend next year’s meeting. If you can’t get to the section meeting, then be sure to attend your chapter and division meetings. As I asked the attendees at the section meetings—Be the Power of One and then IAEI can become the Power of Many! Be proud to wear the IAEI brand!

Read more by James W. Carpenter

Tags:  Editorial  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

2008 International President: Robert McCullough

Posted By Robert McCullough, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who sit back and wonder what happened and those who stand up and make things happen. Make a difference—get involved!”

With those words, Bob McCullough, the 80th president of IAEI, challenged those in attendance at IAEI’s Diamond Jubilee meeting in 2003, to become involved in moving the organization forward.

Getting involved can be as simple as volunteering to participate in IAEI chapter activities, offering to serve on various committees, and helping with educational programs or as complicated as serving as an IAEI representative on a code-making panel. Involvement can also mean being more proactive in bringing new members into the organization and, more importantly, keeping them as members.

Bob’s career as an electrical inspector began in 1970 shortly after his release from active duty in the United States Navy as a cryptologic technician (Don’t ask him because if he told you, he’d have to kill you). He started working for the Ocean County Electrical Bureau in Ocean County, New Jersey, which at the time was the only county that provided electrical inspection services for its residents. "The Ocean County Board of Freeholders has always been progressive in providing services for the safety and welfare of the public,” according to Bob; "they have also been strong supporters of our public safety system.” Choosing early on to get involved, Bob served as a field inspector, senior inspector, assistant chief inspector, and was ultimately promoted to the position of Superintendent of the Bureau in 1979. In 1984, Ocean County created the Construction Inspection Department to provide building, plumbing and fire inspections in addition to electrical inspections, and Bob was named as its first director. It is now a division within the Ocean County Department of Consumer Protection.

Along the way, Bob continued to serve in the U.S. Navy Reserve, traveling to many different locations worldwide before retiring at the end of 1990.

He has served on the New Jersey Chapter Board of Directors, the New Jersey Chapter Southern Division and, along with his mentor, Andy Cartal, helped form the South Jersey Chapter. "Andy is an example of someone getting involved,” Bob says. "He took me under his wing and showed me how to play a part in making the organization better. We all should try to follow his leadership.”

Bob moved up to the Eastern Section Board of Directors and quickly became involved by volunteering to serve as registration chair for the annual Section Meeting and Code Workshop. He then moved through the chairs and become Eastern Section president in 1997. On the state level, Bob is a member of the New Jersey State Uniform Construction Code Advisory Board, a member of the Mechanical/Energy Subcode Committee, and chairs the Electrical Subcode Committee.

He is a member of the New Jersey State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors and was very active with the New Jersey State VICA Residential Wiring Skill Olympics, serving as chair. Before you think that he has too much spare time, Bob is currently chairman of Code-Making Panel 9 for the NEC, representing the IAEI. He previously served as chair of Panel 19 for three cycles. He also represents the IAEI on the technical committees for NFPA 501, 501A, and 225 all dealing with manufactured housing. He has been a member of the National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors (NCPCCI) Electrical Test Development Committee since 1987 and is currently chairman of the NCPCCI Board of Governors. Bob is a corporate member of Underwriters Laboratories Inc, and serves on the Electrical Council.

When asked how he finds the time for all of this, he jokingly says, "It’s easy if you have no life”; but in reality, "If you make the commitment, the time is there.” Maybe you don’t have to go to this level of involvement, but if each IAEI member were to take a little time out of each day to reach out and help a new member along, encouraging that person to get more involved, it would keep this association as the leader of our industry.

Bob and his wife Beverly recently celebrated their fortieth anniversary, and he credits her, along with sons Ryan and his wife Janeen; Kevin and his wife Tara and granddaughter Morgan; daughter Janet and her husband A.J.; and a little black pug named Molly with helping to keep him solidly grounded.

Read more by Robert McCullough

Tags:  Featured  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Overlooked Deductions

Posted By Kathryn Ingley, Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013

Various job-related expenses can be taken as itemized deductions on Schedule A of the federal income tax return. Among these are unreimbursed employee expenses, tax preparation fees, and certain miscellaneous expenses.

Unfortunately, many employees disregard these deductions because either they prefer to file the short form or they are intimidated by the 2% limit of adjusted gross income. However, if you have sufficient medical expenses, taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable contributions to itemize deductions, you should take advantage of this additional tax benefit.

Unreimbursed Employee Expenses

Certain out-of-pocket job-related expenses that are not reimbursed by your employer may be deducted if they occurred during your tax year. Additionally, the expense must be ordinary, one that is common and acceptable in your trade, and necessary, one that is appropriate and helpful to your business. The expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.

Among unreimbursed employee expenses are:

  • Dues to professional societies if membership helps you do your job. One caveat: you cannot deduct dues to an organization if one of its main purposes is to (1) conduct entertainment activities for members or their guests, or (2) provide members or their guests with access to entertainment facilities.
  • Union dues and expenses. Initiation fees and dues you pay for union membership are deductible.
  • Subscriptions to professional journals and trade magazines related to your work
    Work-related education if it meets at least one of the following two tests: (1) it maintains or improves skills required in your present work, or (2) it is required by your employer or the law to keep your salary, status, or job, and requirement serves a business purpose of your employer. If your education meets either of these tests, you can deduct expenses for tuition, books, supplies, laboratory fees and similar items, and certain transportation costs.
  • Travel to seminars. You can deduct expenses for travel, meals (50% limit on meals), and lodging if you travel overnight mainly to obtain qualifying work-related education. Another condition: you cannot deduct expenses for personal activities such as sightseeing, visiting, or entertaining.
  • Depreciation on a computer or cell phone your employer requires you to use in your work
  • Dues to a chamber of commerce if membership helps you do your job
  • Job search expenses in your present occupation
  • Home office or part of your home used regularly and exclusively in your work
  • Legal fees related to your job
  • Licenses and regulatory fees
  • Medical examinations required by an employer
  • Tools and supplies used in your work
  • Travel, transportation, entertainment and gift expenses related to your work
  • Work clothes and uniforms if required and not suitable for everyday use

Tax Preparation Fees

If you itemize deductions on your return, you can claim a deduction for the amount you paid to have your income tax return prepared. This includes the cost of tax preparation software, tax publications, and the electronic filing fee. Hiring an accountant to prepare your taxes would have the additional advantage of emphasizing other deductions that you might otherwise overlook.

Certain Miscellaneous Expenses

These expenses are limited to those related to producing or collecting taxable income and managing or protecting property held for earning income. Some examples include legal and accounting fees, clerical help and office rent, custodial fees (for trust account), your share of the investment expenses of a regulated investment company, certain losses on nonfederally insured deposits in an insolvent or bankrupt financial institution, and casualty and theft losses of property used in performing services as an employee.

2% Limitation

After you have collected all possible deductions in this category, compare the total to 2% of your adjusted gross income. The excess is the amount deductible.

Here is a hypothetical example to show how this works:

Adjusted gross income:$60,000

Professional Dues
IAEI $90.00
NFPA 150.00
IBEW 77.45

CEI Certification Renewals
2 x $50 100.00

Educational Expenses
Seminars 4 x $250 1000.00
Seminar Travel 4 x $60 240.00
Codebook 67.50
Analysis 49.50
Ferms 45.00
1 & 2 Family 51.98 213.98
PowerPoint, 1 x $140 140.00

Total Deductions$2056.43
Minus two percent limit:$1200.00

Total Deductible$ 856.43

Of course, there are many more available deductions than these. It would be worthwhile for you to scan through Schedule A and its instructions. You will find these located at

If you are a sole proprietor, scan Schedule C, which is located at In a sole proprietorship, any expense incurred in the course of doing business is deductible.

If you think of your career spending in terms of what is deductible, you will discover that you are able to redirect your funds to allow you to do far more than you had expected.

This article is not legal advice nor intended to constitute legal aid. These tips are provided to give you general information about taxes. If you have specific questions, please consult a tax advisor or call the toll-free number for Federal Tax Information and Assistance at 1-800-829-1040.

Read more by Kathryn Ingley

Tags:  Featured  January-February 2008 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 51 of 111
 |<   <<   <  46  |  47  |  48  |  49  |  50  |  51  |  52  |  53  |  54  |  55  |  56  >   >>   >|